Guernsey Reforms Inheritance Law

By Editorial 17 January, 2012

The Guernsey government has noted the newly adopted Inheritance (Guernsey) Law, 2011, which is due to come into force on April 2, 2012.

The new law applies to a person who dies on or after April 2, 2012, and whose will was made on or after that date or who dies intestate (that is, he has not made a will which is still valid). The new rules do not apply, generally speaking, to the estate of a person who made a will before April 2, 2012.

At present, Guernsey's inheritance laws restrict the categories of people to whom an individual can leave his or her real property by will, and permit only a proportion of a person's personal property to be left to persons other than certain family members. Under the new law, there will be no such restrictions - a person will be able to leave his or her property, in principle, to whomever he or she wishes.

The law also makes changes to rules on intestacy. Where a person dies on or after April 2, 2012, without having made a will, his or her property will pass to his or her relatives according to new rules set out in the Schedule to the new law.

The new law also enables a relative of a person who has died, or a person who was dependent upon the deceased at the time of death, to apply to the Court for reasonable provision to be made for him or her out of the estate where the effect of the will or the intestacy was that he or she was not properly provided for.

The classes of person who may apply under these provisions, and the grounds for granting such an application, are restricted and in the vast majority of cases, where the deceased person will have made adequate provision for those who might reasonably have been expected to benefit, it is unlikely that any application will be made or, if made, will be successful, the government further added. The government has therefore advised that when a person is making a will after April 2, 2012, he or she should be aware that it is possible that a family member or dependant who has not been properly provided for might make an application challenging the terms of that will, and should discuss the matter with his or her advocate.

As the new rules do not apply to wills existing before April 2, 2012, the government has noted some persons will wish to redraft their will prior to April 2, 2012, to avoid their will being subject to the new provisions if desired. However, if a person wishes the new Law to apply to his or her estate, but does not want to wait until April 2, 2012, before making his or her will, that can also be done by making a new will stating the wish for the new provisions to apply when the new law comes into force.

Tags: Individuals | Expatriates | Tax | Investment | Pensions | Law | International Financial Centres (IFC) | Guernsey | Offshore | Legislation | Legislation Amendments |


News Archive